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Saturday, September 25, 2010


I saw this on the blog If it's hip its here and you guys must see it. It's totally bizarre and the girl's total non expression is perfect.

I have been busy this whole week which doesn't excuse my lack of blogging. I tried more baking with the 5 minutes a day bread recipe but used a different master recipe this time. Strangely the recipe is always different on different sites.

I used one of them and made a 80% brown loaf and it is better than my first experiment. I am still trying but enjoying a slice with kaya now. yummmm.

Next experiment would be a red pepper fougasse also found on the same website. Doesn't it just look mouthwatering ?

Have a lazy saturday folks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Comedy Night in the Desert

We went to a sports bar in the Ramada Plaza two days ago as the bars are now open after the Eid holidays. Most expats are back from their summer break and swarmed the pub for some late night entertainment. The Laughter Factory, based in Dubai has brought in 3 comedians to tour here and tonight was the second and last night of their performance.

We managed to get about 7 others to join us there and by 8pm, the beers were flowing and pub food happily in our tummies.

2 out of 3 were good, this canadian chap Craig Campbell was very funny and quite sweet actually. Found a clip online to share.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Homemade Goodness

There are plenty of freshly baked breads around, but mostly not very good. Bakemart seems to be the default place to get a decent croissant or baguette. However the loaves of multigrains or brown breads are quite disappointing. The bread texture is so light that after being in the toaster, it disintegrates.

We used to have a breadmaking machine and it was good having fresh homemade bread especially when we could time it so we wake up to some amazing aromas. But I lost the paddle part and never found the replacement so the machine became useless.

Then I found out about the no knead bread concept, first from canadian chef Michael Smith on the cooking show Chef at Home. It looked easy, just mix and leave dough overnight and bake the next day. I never tried it but kept it at the back of my mind to try it someday.

A week ago, I started to look up his recipe again but found something else that might be even easier. Artisan bread in 5 minutes. Jeff Hertzberg and his wife, Zoe Francois stripped down breadmaking to it's basic steps and ingredients to include just salt, water, yeast and flour.

Without kneading and just putting all the said ingredients in a bucket and left in the fridge to rise overnight, one can have fresh dough the next morning. Taking a batch of this risen dough, shaping to desired shape and left to rise in 20 minutes while the oven heats up, you can have crusty bread after baking for only 15 minutes.

Sounds too good to be true so I had to try it.

Last night I put the measured ingredients in a plastic box with a loose lid and it sat on the counter to rise for 2 hours before I left it in the fridge.

Here's what it looked like after mixing everything together with a wooden spoon. The idea was just to incorporate everything together and that only took about a minute.

The dough was very wet and that is the secret apparently.

Jeff and Zoe tells you to leave the mixture for 2 hours on the kitchen counter before placing it in the fridge, but I forgot and left it out for 3 hours before chilling it. Don't think it caused any problems. You can see the air pockets within the dough already.

This morning, I grabbed a grapefruit sized dough out of the box and shaped it into an oval. This I left to rise for about 20 minutes while I turned the oven on. However the dough didn't really rise after 20 minutes so I left it for another 15 before baking it.

When the time as up, I felt that my bun had only marginally risen but decided to bake it anyway. The dough   went into the hot oven and in just 15 minutes, I had an incredible crusty loaf. In fact, the bread puffed up while it was baking.

I should have waited for it to cool down, but I could not wait to taste this baby.

The texture inside was lovely, full of flavour and slightly chewy but the crust was the star of the show definitely. I smeared some cold butter on it and my current favourite jam from Dean + Deluca's Apple Pear Cinnamon Jam.

I am officially a believer.

Now I cannot wait to have breakfast tomorrow or I might dip it into some virgin olive oil for a snack later.

This is one recipe to keep and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a foolproof recipe for home made bread. This recipe is good for making pizzas, flatbreads and the book has gluten free recipes too. One of the videos actually showed Jeff making flatbread by frying it in oil in a frying pan, outdoors, at a campsite, so you see, an oven is not even required.

Check out this video if you take my word for how easy this is.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Posh Fashion

Victoria Beckham showed her Spring/Summer collection 2011 during the NYC Fashion Week. I must admit that I think she's too scary skinny and has too much work done on her, yet I like her style of dress. The pencil thin, precise tailored outfits, small waists and massive glasses is totally up my alley. In Doha, Zai Boutique stocks her dresses and I have seen them. Beautifully crafted and very luxurious.

From her latest collection, these I would wear.

The second piece is so sexy.

I went back to her past collections, the Autumn 2010 and picked a few that I would love to own.

Her 2010 Spring collection was really lovely too.

I can see myself in this black and white ensemble.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Selamat Hari Raya

Today marks the end of the Ramadan yay! Offices and most shops are shut for this major celebration for the next week but the malls and most importantly, the bars will be open !!

Where I live, the streets are lined with fairy lights and decorations. The locals will be out and about visiting families and friends so I suspect the streets will be crowded.

This entry for the Royal Observatory Greenwich Astronomy of the Year 2010, is perfect for Hari  Raya I think. Besides what a great photo ? Go here to see the rest of the gobsmacking entries.

To L in Singapore who is, for the first time in probably 10 years, celebrating Raya with her family. Have a great time !

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Domestic goddess

As I fuss over the kitchen conjuring up menus for the day / week , I am always running out of clean dishcloths and so I think, it's time for an apron. Besides, it can get a little mundane having to cook everyday and maybe having a cute little outfit for the kitchen might just add a little colour and more. 

Here are some aprons I would consider. These romantic aprons are from Aussie shop Mozi 

Seltzer Studios has this fun one for USD 32.00. The pocket would be useful. 

Or this Grace half apron which is so sweet and vintage inspired, at USD 31.00. Almost wearable outdoors.

This sexy number from Cupcake Provocateur is pretty wild eh? More for a Bewitched theme party than any practical use I think. If I were a Harajuku girl...

Of course I had to see what Anthropologie had and this caught my eye. A lace up apron in blue or purple.

The Bountiful Bubbles design is kinda kitsh but might be too fussy.

The creative souls at, had some lovely handmade ones. SugarPieChic made this with Amy Butler's fabrics.


Mariemadelinestudio's aprons are adorable and so pretty. This is called the chic sisters collection.

The frilly fandango !

And the pleated cottage aprons.

I want them all !

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Back to the day .....

Remember the days of Disney's Bambi or 101 Dalmations ? The Illusionist was released earlier this year in Europe to lukewarm response. It would seem it failed to stand up to the the louder, fast moving cartoons like Shrek. It's like watching an old man trained in clock repairs with his rickety tools, stand in the same ring as a young techie fixing computer viruses online.

The screenplay was written in 1956 by Jacques Tati and the plot is about a struggling illusionist who meets a young lady and a paternal relationship develops. The reason why it took so long for it to be made was apparently because Tati wrote it for one of his daughters, whom he felt guilty of abandoning. In his own way, he was trying to reconnect with her.

I have a feeling I will like this film.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Good looking packaging

I am a sucker for packaging. The first impression is a lasting one for me and often is what I base my purchasing decisions on. So if a book had an ugly cover, I wouldn't buy it, even if it was a bestseller.

So when I do my shopping for groceries, I always default to Waitrose products because they do have a great  design, always modern and eye catching. They did change their tinned tomatoes label a while back and I really liked it.

Their other canned products have a really modern streamlined look which I totally buy too.

Harvey Nichols food market is one of the places I love to get lost in. Their elegant style extends to the food aisles and I know the exorbitant prices are for the packaging not the product but who can resist.

This is the espresso gift hamper which includes cups, coffee and cookies. I could reuse the tins so that would make paying 50 quid for this less insane...?
 At this design packaging blog The, they featured this stunning range of hot sauces.

The packaging was designed by a student Stephanie Hughes. She created recipe books that uses mini bottles as a bookmark, how clever !

The cork stoppers and chunky bottles in a wooden mini crate add a really nice rustic feel to the product.

Where can I get some ?!

What about this adorable honey bottles?

Also a feature on, the design company Ah&Oh fashioned cute glass bottles to look like the bumble bee.

This is beyond cute.

Another super design that I could not get over, was this origami packaging for a dessert company Meringue, by student Samira Khoshnood. How absolutely beautiful isn't it?

 I say, produce this in opaque plastic so we can reuse it as a cake box. On that note, have a lovely weekend everyone, hope you see something gorgeous in your everyday surroundings too!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Roomful of Blues

I am slowly putting the baby room together and the colour scheme that is emerging is a combination of royal blues and turquoise. I am thinking maybe of throwing an third colour as an accent but can't decide on which.

These photos from House of Turquoise suggest a touch of canary yellow .

With lime green ?

Or if I took inspiration from a ceramic hot plate holder I got for Istanbul, a touch of bright orange?

I am swaying towards yellow. Any suggestions ?